GROUP E of the World Cup qualifiers has been left wide open with four terms on three points following Zambia’s 2-1 defeat against Niger at the Marrakech Stadium in Morocco.
The defeat was coach Avram Grant’s first loss in competitive matches since he took over as Chipolopolo coach from Aljosa Asanovic.
Going into the game, Chipolopolo led the group with three points, at par with Tanzania but the defeat relegates Zambia fourth with the same number of points as leader Morocco who have played a game less.
Zambia started the game flat, going down to an Amadou Moutari goal in the sixth minute to set Chipolopolo on the path of defeat.
By the 28th minute, one turned two for Niger when Boubacar Goumey struck from close range to take the match to 2-0.
Down at halftime, Zambia sought for an equalizer and they managed to get one five minutes after the restart.
Patson Daka headed in from close range when the Niger keeper failed to deal with a Clatous Chama shot.
Niger defended for dear life to keep the score at 2-1 and win the match.
In the other Group match, Morocco beat Tanzania 2-0 while Congo Brazzaville had a free day owing to Eritrea’s withdrawal.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 21st November, 2023)
CAF Awards: Barbra Banda makes the cut, Copper Queens misses out
IN BITTERSWEET news for Zambian football, striker Barbra Banda has been named among the finalists for the prestigious CAF Women’s Player of the Year award, but the Copper Queens have missed out on the final three for the National Team of the Year accolade.
The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) has released the final nominees for various categories of the 2023 Awards that have been set for the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Monday.
There is a mixture of good and bad news for Zambia in that Banda has made it on the final three for the player of the year award in the women’s category but there was no place for the Copper Queens in the national team of the year category.
The Copper Queens had been in the race to be named the national team of the year, having made the initial top five nominee list but have since failed to make the cut for the final three.
The team has fallen off alongside Senegal, leaving the stage for Morocco, Nigeria and African champions South Africa.
On the bright side of things, Banda could be named the player of the year in the women’s category but she has to fend off competition from Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala and Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 7th December, 2023)
Zambia are Netball Champions
ZAMBIA have lifted the Africa Netball Cup in Botswana after defeating Namibia 57-55 in a tightly contested final.
The team has been impressive over the course of the tournament but appeared to meet their match in the final.
Zambia took a first quarter lead, but by the time the game was reaching half time the teams were tied at 23-23.
Namibia then controlled the game in the third quarter and managed to record a 35-33 lead.
Zambia did not give up, stretching the game into extra time when they tied 43-43 at full time.
In the end, the team managed the game and ran home 57-55 winners to be crowned champions.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 6th December, 2023)
Copper Queens Masterclass! Zambia put World Cup lessons to practice
ZAMBIA turned up the heat on Angola, again beating their opponent 6-0 at a near-full to-capacity Levy Mwanawasa Stadium to wrap up the Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAfCON) qualifiers with a 12-0 aggregate win.
The impressive crowd at the stadium got what they bargained for with the team putting a perfect performance, showing no mercy to Angola who never stood a chance going into this game.
Carrying a 6-0 advantage from the first leg, Zambia could still have qualified with a draw or slim defeat but the team was in no mood to compromise.
They got things running as early as the fifth minute when Rachael Kundananji benefited from a defensive lapse to score the opener.
By the time it was reaching the 14th minute, one turned two for Zambia when skipper Barbra Banda scored for the Copper Queens.
Leading 2-0 at the break, Zambia turned on the heat in the second half with veteran Susan Banda scored a screamer to triple Zambia’s advantage in this game.
There was still time Avell Chitundu, Esther Banda and Kundananji to score and take the scoreline to 6-0.
The scoreline probably suggests that the team picked valuable lessons from the likes of Spain and Japan at the World Cup in New Zealand.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 5th December, 2023)